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Pentagon plays down intelligence officer's provocative China assessment

Published on Feb 21, 2014 9:50 AM
 
The Pentagon on Feb 20, 2014 played down remarks by a senior Navy intelligence officer who told a public forum that he believed China was training its forces to be capable of carrying out a short, sharp war with Japan in the East China Sea. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The Pentagon on Thursday played down remarks by a senior Navy intelligence officer who told a public forum that he believed China was training its forces to be capable of carrying out a "short, sharp" war with Japan in the East China Sea.

The comments by Captain James Fanell, director of intelligence and information operations at the US Pacific Fleet, were little noticed when he made them last week at a conference on maritime strategy called West 2014 in San Diego.

Fanell also predicted China, which declared an air defence zone last year in the East China Sea where it is locked in a territorial dispute with Japan over a string of small islands, would declare another air defence zone by the end of 2015, this time in the South China Sea.

The Pentagon's top spokesman, Rear Admiral John Kirby, declined to comment on whether it was appropriate for Fanell to publicly offer such a blunt assessment, but said the Pentagon wanted closer ties with China's military.

 
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